Sara McGrath [msaraann]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
My love of reading really took off when I was twelve years old and began reading my mother's Stephen King novels. From there, I determined that I wanted to write fiction, too. I wrote my first novel, Mother's Milk, in my early twenties as a participant in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Following my dad's death, I wrote a memoir titled, strange little girl: memoirs of a sad-eyed lady. I also wrote two nonfiction books, Write A Novel in 30 Days, and Unschooling: A Lifestyle of Learning.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I have several favorite genres. I prefer works that don't fit a specific genre, but I do love vampire novels, fairies, anything fanciful, historic romances, Tom Robbins, Chris Moore . . .
My books are available on Lulu, through Amazon and Kindle, and for review on Authonomy. I write articles for Examiner, Suite101, Helium, and elsewhere.
My author's blog is http://saramcgrath.blogspot.com.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I get an idea or I just feel like writing. Or my kids are asleep or engaged in something.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
When I read something uniquely creative or funny, I want to do it, too.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
Technically speaking, a story is a beginning, middle, and ending, with what happened, who it happened to, perhaps why, and how it turned out. I think those elements tend to come naturally as long as you keep writing.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I prefer first. It feels the most authentic, as far as creative expression. I prefer to read first person, too.
What well known writers do you admire most?
I don't know any writers personally, but I love the work of Anne Rice, Tom Robbins, Stephen King, Christopher Moore, Kathryn Lynn Davis, Stephanie Meyer, Laurell K Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Kiana Davenport, . . .
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
I work with emotions I have felt. I base fictional situations on ones I have experienced and channel from that.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
I don't think so. When my kids ask for a story, I fail woefully as compared to my grandmother. She can whip a story up without any hesitation. I draw a blank. Perhaps I have a block for that type of spontaneity.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
I write for myself. If I thought I was writing for anyone else, I would never get anything finished. I'm too self-conscious for that.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Definitely. Reading and writing are both healing experiences for me.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Usually, if I don't let my insecurities rule.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I sometimes enter competitions. My first novel did win a Best Beginning award.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
Nope. I'm weak that way. I polish a lot before I let anyone else see.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
My voice is my voice. I can't imagine not having found it or looking for it. However, I do sometimes write in the equivalent of a monotone for nonfiction articles. Some publications only accept third-person robot voice. That's not something I understand.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
None. I write when I feel like writing. Sometimes that means doing a lot of re-reading before I can begin writing on something I haven't written on in a long time.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
My desk is a mess. The clutter does not help me concentrate, but I can't seem to keep it tidy. My kids are constantly moving things around, but that's how I live. My writing and my family life are completely entangled, or perhaps enmeshed is the word. I don't try to separate, because trying only creates conflict and stress. My inclination is to isolate myself with my projects and work blissfully uninterrupted for days, but instead I write when I can throughout the day interspersed with mother work. I often work with a baby in my lap.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I jot notes on paper. I journal on paper. I compose on the computer. I could write more often if I could do it on paper, but I'm a typist. Ever since first grade, I typed my school notes.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
I belong to many, many listservs. They're all about parenting or homeschooling. I rarely talk to anyone about writing. I occasionally use Authonomy and Urbis, but since I do write for myself, I don't always want criticism.
What has been your experience with publishers?
I self-publish my books. I have an anarchist, do-it-yourself style for most things. I don't submit to publishers. I don't use an agent for marketing. I do have editors for online publications though.
What are you working on now?
I contribute regularly to Suite101.com and I write the Seattle Homeschooling for Beginners column on Examiner.com. I have a novel that I work on sometimes. I also have a new baby. If she feels like cuddling up in my lap, then I might write.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Read them, perhaps work on them, and submit them, if you'd like to see them published. There is always self-publishing, too. It's easy with sites like Lulu. From there, you can list them with the big booksellers. It's all very anonymous.
What is your blog address? What subjects do you deal with?
I keep several blogs, an author's blog, a personal blog, a family blog, and a couple of blogs for my children.
Author's Blog http://saramcgrath.blogspot.com
Personal Blog http://rainsolace.blogspot.com
Former Blog http://motheranarchy.blogspot.com
Fashion Games http://girlyfashiongames.blogspot.com
What was it that made you create your blog? On what date did you start it?
When my life as a mother was new, I needed to express thoughts and feelings about parenting and living outside the mainstream way of doing things. I needed to connect with like-minded folks. I did that with my first blog, which was called Mother Anarchy, aka just folks.
Rain Solace is my new blog. I've worked through many of the issues I had, feeling outcast, and so I created the new blog with a new feel, like getting older.
For my kids: Dragon's Fire Learning is a repository of interesting topics, a directory of children's websites, and a method of homeschool recordkeeping. Girly Fashion Games is a collection of dress-up fashion games.
What blogging system have you adopted and why?
I use Blogger. I've always used Blogger and it works fine for me.
How many visits a day do you get? What type of comments do you receive?
Mother Anarchy got a lot more visitors and a lot more comments. RainSolace gets about 20 a day and not many comments.
How has 'having a blog' contributed to your life?
My personal blog is like a friend in a way. It's a place to test ideas or to share something of interest. The homeschooling blog is a great way to share things with my kids and send them on learning journeys.
Have you created relationships with other bloggers or readers of your blog?
Yes, and then I wish I could meet them in real life, but they live so far away.
How often do you post? Does regular posting of your blog require a lot of effort on your part?
I post when I feel like it, which isn't always very often.
Does blogging bring in income for you? Can one make a living from posting?
I don't earn much. I have a few affiliate links, but I don't use any advertising that I cannot fully control.
How do you promote your blog?
I sometimes list my blog addresses on social networking sites.
How would you define your readers? Have you got a faithful audience?
I do seem to have some regular readers, several from my original blog.
Are there any blogs you follow daily or regularly?
Not daily, but there are some I like to check.
How do you see your blog evolving in the future?
I'm not sure. Time will tell.
What advice would you give to someone who wishes to begin a blog?
Go for it. Set one up on a free blogging site. Comment on other people's blogs and invite them to visit yours.
Seattle, Washington USA